Riverhead BOE to vote on hiring new assistant superintendent on interim basis

The Riverhead Board of Education is set to vote on hiring a new assistant superintendent for finance and operations at its regular meeting tonight.

According to an agenda published on the district website, the board may approve a contract between the district and Faith Caglianone at a rate of $100 per hour.

A contract attached to the resolution states that Ms. Caglianone will work on an “as needed basis” at the direction of superintendent Dr. Augustine Tornatore effective Dec. 1 through June 30, 2022.

Board of Education president Laurie Downs said in an interview Tuesday morning that the new hire will be taking the place of Herb Chessler, whom the board hired as an acting business official in October at a rate of $125 per hour.

“He is not going to be staying, so we sought out another interim,” Ms. Downs said. “She’s only filling in.”

The board hasn’t received a formal resignation from Mr. Chessler, she said, though he has signaled that he intends to.

Mr. Chessler’s appointment came as the board also voted to abolish the role of deputy superintendent Sam Schneider, who was assigned a new role of assistant superintendent for finance and operations.

District officials have since confirmed that Mr. Schneider is out on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Ms. Downs said an allegation was raised to the superintendent, but she declined to discuss the nature of the claim and said it wouldn’t be fair to discuss “before we know if it’s true.”

The Board of Education hired Nesconset-based law firm Volz & Vigliotta as special counsel to investigate the allegation. District officials have declined to estimate when the pending investigation will be completed and the district’s resolution to retain Volz & Vigliotta lists the end date as “the conclusion of the assigned task.”

When Mr. Chessler was appointed, Mr. Tornatore said he would play an integral part in the day-to-day business operations of the district and could also help the district pursue grants and handle an influx of state and federal funding the district has received.

If her contract is approved, Ms. Caglianone is expected to take over those tasks and may start crafting the proposed budget for the 2022-2023 school year as well.

According to a LinkedIn profile, she previously worked as a business official in the Shoreham-Wading River School District.

Ms. Downs said the superintendent is expected to discuss the assistant superintendent for finance and operations more during tonight’s meeting, which will be held in the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on YouTube.